Twenty years ago, Joy Kagira was very busy in her village in SouthWest Uganda looking after 69 orphans and vulnerable children in addition to her own 12 children. She could never have dreamed that her big heart would result in a place named after her that is not only flourishing but has recently received leadership and financial assistance from Rotarians in Saskatoon and around the world so that her work could be expanded and continued. Here is a glimpse into how it happened.

Maureen Too, Joy’s youngest daughter, moved with her family to Saskatoon in 2004; but her heart was still in Uganda with the children at Joy’s Centre. She was desperately trying to find financial assistance for them when she heard of Rotary. In 2011, the Rotary Club of Saskatoon offered encouragement and financial support. She became a member of the Club and in 2012 officially founded Joy’s Centre.

In a recent report to the World Community Service Committee of the Rotary Club, attention was drawn to high levels of success in student learning as well as the dedication of staff, teachers, volunteers and the local board. The Saskatoon Rotary Club Committee is planning more fundraising activities as there is an urgent need for more child sponsors.
Two years ago, a proposal was submitted to the World Community Service Committee for a global grant from Rotary International for Joy’s Holistic Health Project. Early attention would be given to water, sanitation and hygiene, with the focus later moving to gender issues, environmental sustainability and good governance. Committee members quickly saw the potential for “doing good” with $10,000 USD raised by local Rotarians, which was leveraged into an $82,500 USD overall grant request for the project through Rotary International. In the final days of 2018, the project received formal approval from Rotary International. This initiative started during the celebrations of 100 years of Rotary in Saskatoon and it is a fitting way to remember the vision of Rotary International.